The Best Outdoor Lighting for Every Style

Because traditional wall lanterns have no business illuminating the exterior of a midcentury ranch home.

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May 19, 2021

Light fixtures are touted as the jewelry of the home, and we’re here to remind you that your exterior lights are no exception. Outdoor sconces are impactful design elements that should not — nay, cannot be overlooked when creating killer curb appeal. These underestimated outdoor light fixtures work overtime to bring warmth to otherwise shadowy stoops and enhance homes’ architecture in one fell swoop.

So, how do you find the perfect sconces for your porch? That’s where we come in. Keep reading to get the scoop on seven of the most popular outdoor sconce styles, and shop the type best suited for your exterior design.

Traditional Outdoor Lanterns

Illuminate your colonial, cottage or French country porch with a pair of stately traditional lantern sconces. This classical sconce style has been a lighting mainstay for centuries and continues to reign supreme in the design world today. Original wall lanterns held wax candles or torches, but the historic fixtures have since evolved to gas-powered flames or electric options. Wall lanterns come in a myriad of shapes, sizes, silhouettes and finishes to best suit your home’s architecture and color palette.

Industrial Gooseneck Outdoor Lights

Give your farmhouse, country cabin or rustic ranch a facelift with a set of gooseneck barn lights. Much like traditional wall lanterns, barn lights have been a favorite exterior fixture for centuries. The iconic lights boast an eye-catching silhouette with a statement-making gooseneck arm and a generous shade that pops against wood backdrops. Flank your front door with a pair of barn lights, or keep it simple and secure a single fixture above your entry to give your stoop a statement-making spotlight.

Flush-Mount Outdoor Lights

Working with a small stoop? Flush-mount sconces are your best bet for bringing maximum light to your exterior without taking up precious space. Flush mounts come in all shapes, sizes and styles, but the key characteristic that all flush fixtures share is that they're mounted level to your wall. Use your home’s architecture and formality as your guide to select a flush-mount wall sconce (or two!) that suits your exterior.

Semi-Flush Outdoor Lights

Semi-flush light fixtures are another option for illuminating petite porches and patios. Much like flush mounts, semi-flush fixtures are compact by design and make ideal additions to tight spaces. Semi-flush fixtures are unique from their flush counterparts because their attached light extends beyond the wall-mounted plate to create a subtle, dimensional design. This creates an illusion of depth and grandeur without overpowering the limited space available.

Globe Outdoor Lights

Give your modern exterior whimsy and glamour with a pair of gorgeous globe sconce lights. These spherical fixtures are our top suggestion for streamlined contemporary, modern or midcentury exteriors because the shapely shade creates a playful juxtaposition that ensures your home stands out from the rest. These spherical fixtures come with semi-flush and armed silhouettes and are offered with frosted, transparent or seeded-glass shades. Use a brass fixture to cast your entry in a golden glow, or kick up the contrast and install black globe sconces on your white exterior.

Bulkhead Outdoor Lights

Bulkhead lights are a must-have for coastal and industrial home exteriors alike. These space-saving fixtures embody nautical style and are crafted with industrious resiliency to weather off-shore storms. Bulkheads secure flush to exterior walls and feature a distinctive cage that encases and protects the light source within from water or dust damage. Love bulkhead durability but not sure about the industrial look? Treat your exterior to a contemporary cageless bulkhead fixture for the same endurance and a more modern appeal.

Exterior Spotlights

Show off your curb appeal with a series of strategically placed spotlights secured to your home’s exterior. Spotlight sconces are our top pick for highlighting your dreamy stoop, exterior kitchen window or prize-winning rose bush because they focus narrow beams of light on a singular focal point below. These showy fixtures come in a variety of silhouettes and finishes to fit all exterior architectures with ease.

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